The Black Man of Happiness Project, founded by American Book Award-winning author Peter J. Harris, is a creative, intellectual and artistic exploration prompted by one elemental question: What is a happy Black man? The Project explores African American life and history from a refreshing, life-affirming new angle: through the lens of happiness of the men whose survival, let alone joy, has never been a national priority.
The Black Man of Happiness Project crystallizes some 40 years as poet, essayist, journalist, editor, publisher, broadcaster, educator, and workshop leader exploring the lives of Black men, including the 2011 collaboration with my daughter, Adenike A. Harris, on her Creative Master’s Thesis: “Restorative Notions: Regaining My Voice, Regaining My Father: A Creative Womanist Approach to Healing from Sexual Abuse,” (Georgia State University). In her thesis, she and I write a candid, ethical, loving call-and-response dialogue tracing how we worked together to confront, survive, and transcend her rape. (http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/wsi_theses/23)
My writing has been included in anthologies edited by, among others, Charles Johnson/John McCluskey Jr.; Rebecca Walker; Meri Danquah; Paula Woods/Felix Liddell; Terry McMillan; Kalamu ya Salaam; E. Ethelbert Miller; Juliette Harris/Pamela Johnson; and Gloria Wade Gayles. My magazine, “Genetic Dancers: The Artistry Within African/American Fathers,” published during the 1980s, was the first magazine of its kind and asserted that African American fathers become artists through the frictions of conscientious parenting.
My book, Hand Me My Griot Clothes: The Autobiography of Junior Baby, featured a philosophical elder Black man ruminating on life, love, and ethics, and won the PEN Oakland award for multicultural literature in 1993. In 2010, I wrote the forward to New Wine and Black Men’s Feet by Keith Antar Mason (Red Hen Press). My essay, “1,000 O’clock: Johnson Time,” was published in the 2009 anthology, The Black Body (Danquah) and extended the meditations of my 2004/2008 stage play, “The Johnson Chronicles: Truth & Tall Tales about My Penis.
Check out Peter’s blog at http://inspirationcrib.com/.